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Lordship and LiteratureJohn Gower and the Politics of the Great Household$
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Elliot Kendall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542642

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542642.001.0001

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Total Reciprocity and the Problem of Kingship

Total Reciprocity and the Problem of Kingship

(p.242) 8 Total Reciprocity and the Problem of Kingship
Lordship and Literature

Elliot Kendall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The book's final chapter explores the theorization and narrative representation of kingship in Confessio Amantis Book Seven. It contextualises Book Seven in relation to salient ideas of medieval kingship, particularly involving counsel and Aristotelian theory of princely virtues and princely reason. The chapter argues that deep contradictions are produced by Book Seven's attempt to secure an ideal of uncentralized, ‘reciprocalist’ politics by means of royal sovereignty. These contradictions are concentrated in the curious, violent representation of royal pity in Book Seven. In the discussion of pity, kingship thus tends towards ‘magnificence’, although it is elsewhere more securely reciprocalist.

Keywords:   Confessio Amantis, counsel, magnificence, kingship, pity, sovereignty

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